10/04/2006 11:00PM

Cotillion the next step for Miraculous Miss


Miraculous Miss took an unscheduled extended vacation after she fell on her back in the starting gate and sustained cuts on her left hind leg and above her left eye prior to the June 10 Acorn at Belmont Park.

The nearly five-month respite from racing between her wins in the Grade 1 Comely in April and last month's Grade 3 Endine Handicap at Delaware Park has a silver lining, however. Trainer Steve Klesaris now has a fresh filly for the fall's biggest races.

Miraculous Miss will attempt two turns for the first time and try to prove she's worthy of Breeders' Cup consideration in Saturday's Grade 2, $500,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Breeders' Cup Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at Philadelphia Park.

The 10-race card includes two other stakes, the $100,000 Gallant Bob Handicap for 3-year-old sprinters, and the $50,000 Pistol Packer Handicap for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares.

A winner of 6 of 7 lifetime starts, Miraculous Miss is the lone graded stakes winner in the seven-horse Cotillion field.

Klesaris said he's confident Miraculous Miss, a come-from-behind horse, can handle two turns and 1 1/16 miles. As a daughter of Mr. Greeley, runner-up in the 1995 Breeders' Cup Sprint, Miraculous Miss's pedigree is tilted towards shorter distances.

"She is the type of horse mentally and with the way she runs that makes me believe she will run further than her pedigree suggests," Klesaris said. "We were planning to have her go around two turns by now, but with the incident earlier in the year that put us behind.

"But we also have a fresh horse because of the races we missed. Nobody knows until she tries two turns, but she has done everything we have asked of her so far."

Should Miraculous Miss win on Saturday, she would likely shoot for a $250,000 bonus Philly Park is offering if the Cotillion winner also captures the BC Distaff on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

"If she wins and goes well, she will probably go in the Distaff," Klesaris said.

Miraculous Miss and Ermine, a Kentucky-based filly trained by Ronny Werner, are cross-entered in the Grade 3, $400,000 Indiana Oaks on Friday night. Klesaris said Wednesday Miraculous Miss is all but certain to run at Philly Park.

The two biggest threats to Miraculous Miss are New York shippers Miss Shop and India.

Miss Shop, trained by Allen Jerkens, has been third in two of her last three starts, the Grade 1 Ruffian and the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Her last win, however, came on turf and she has yet to win going two turns on dirt.

India, from the potent barn of Todd Pletcher, comes off a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure for her easy win in an overnight stakes at Monmouth Park. She has finished behind Miraculous Miss twice.